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Old 16.01.2010, 10:03
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Salary question--Dubai to Zurich

Hi..
I know this is a frequently asked question..but I'm kind of concerned with my situation..I work in IT Financial services sector..

I'm an expat based in Dubai and my company has asked me to relocate to Zurich. I make around USD 175K /annum (tax free!) + arnd 40k bonus + comprehensive healthcare. I'm in mid thirties, married but no kids at the mmnt..
I do enjoy a very comfortable lifestyle at this salary in Dubai and still a good chunk going into my savings at the end of the month..

What would be a reasonable salary i should negotiate for in CHF? My company has offered me around 125 CHF gross + health care..

I know this compares no way to my existing USD salary.
But will i be able to live a decent lifestyle after paying taxes? Or will I be making too many compromises on my standard of living?
I still have some room for negotiations and will try my best to do so..but how much should I settle for?

ANy inputs will be highly appreciated..
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Old 16.01.2010, 10:36
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Re: Salary question--Dubai to Zurich

You'll certainly be living a less comfortable lifestyle than you did in Dubai. Will you wife be working, too?

Have a look at www.immoscout24.ch -- if you assume a rough budget of 3000 CHF for rent (rule of thumb -- about a third of your gross salary as a maximum), you'll see what kind of apartment you could afford near the city centre and also in out-lying cantons. It won't be huge or luxurious, but it'll rent something between 80-110 sq meters.

In my experience, most things in Switzerland are 10-20% more expensive than in neighbouring European countries. The two things that cost considerably more than elsewhere are certain foods (meat in particular) and the price of going out (if you're in the habit of eating out regularly, that will soon change).

There's lots of information on here about the cost of living -- do a search and see what you turn up. You can use www.comparis.ch to determine how much tax you'll pay (look at the 'witholding tax' section, as that will be what applies in the first year that you're here), and you can then work out what your net pay will be. Armed with that information, you can work out a rough estimate of your cost-of-living, based on what you like to do, and make your decision accordingly.

Switzerland is, obviously, a vastly different sort of lifestyle to Dubai. You obviously can't put a value on that, but it's also something to factor into your calculations.
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Old 17.01.2010, 00:00
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Re: Salary question--Dubai to Zurich

short answer... if you like your current life in Dubai, you're heading for some grief with the Swiss package you mentioned.
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Old 17.01.2010, 00:07
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Re: Salary question--Dubai to Zurich

you will be much worse off here in Switzerland...according to the way life is measured in Dubai at least. However, Dubai is a shopping mall and Switzerland is alpine forests and drinking-water quality lakes. Depends on whether you just want to stick it out as an expat to save, or develop a quality lifestyle (or whether you really like it in Dubai )
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Old 17.01.2010, 00:21
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Re: Salary question--Dubai to Zurich

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Hi..
I know this is a frequently asked question..but I'm kind of concerned with my situation..I work in IT Financial services sector..

I'm an expat based in Dubai and my company has asked me to relocate to Zurich. I make around USD 175K /annum (tax free!) + arnd 40k bonus + comprehensive healthcare. I'm in mid thirties, married but no kids at the mmnt..
I do enjoy a very comfortable lifestyle at this salary in Dubai and still a good chunk going into my savings at the end of the month..

What would be a reasonable salary i should negotiate for in CHF? My company has offered me around 125 CHF gross + health care..

I know this compares no way to my existing USD salary.
But will i be able to live a decent lifestyle after paying taxes? Or will I be making too many compromises on my standard of living?
I still have some room for negotiations and will try my best to do so..but how much should I settle for?

ANy inputs will be highly appreciated..
are you being kicked off your current job? if not, you'd be bloody stupid to give it up and take the swiss package offered. the dubai package is probably about 2.5x more than the swiss one (ignoring living costs). if you really wanted to live in switzerland, you might as well work extra years there and then come here on holiday.
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Old 17.01.2010, 01:00
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Re: Salary question--Dubai to Zurich

Well it all comes down to long term job security I guess right ? Not sure if keeping the job in Dubai is an option, but you would need to get roughly 30% more in Zürich to enjoy the exactly same lifestyle cost-wise.
http://www.finfacts.ie/costofliving.htm
But in my opinion you can't have a nice life in Dubai without money, but you can certainly enjoy it in Zürich with less money. But if you're really keen on saving, then there is probably no way you can try to reproduce your lifestyle in Zürich and keep on saving.
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Old 17.01.2010, 01:31
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Re: Salary question--Dubai to Zurich

HI XDude,

I agree with the sentiments expressed here. 120K in Switzerland will not allow the life style you would be used to!

By the way: may I ask how you found your position in IT Financial Services in Dubai? We have been looking for jobs as PM, requirement engineer or business process engineer in Dubai or Abu Dhabi for some time ... without success. Any suggestions?
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Old 17.01.2010, 11:51
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Re: Salary question--Dubai to Zurich

Thnx for all the replies..I will do my research based on the links tht you guys have provided..
but this confirms my worst fears..
Yes.. My wife will also try to get a job..She is a qualified professional..However both of us are english speaking Non EU professionals..So I'm not sure what are her chances of getting a job in Zurich as I understand tht its bit difficult to get the job by just movin there if you aren't swiss german speaking.. So my moving there would definately cause some hardship for her..

I'm not being kicked out of my job in Dubai but being moved as a part of restructuring..
Now I'm trying to work it backwards..See how much tax will I be paying in Zurich.. n then post tax how much should I have in my hand (or bank) to live apporx. same life style..Is there a thumb rule..Should I consider a worst case tax scenario where I 'd be paying 25% tax?

I agree tht I can not compare Dubai to Zurich.. Both are vastly different cities..
but I've some liabilities..a mortgage back in my home country where I pay around 4k USD as a monthly installment..
So at the end of day, I need a salary where I can pay my mortgage and at the same time do not compromise "much" on my life style..

So I guess I need to negotiate really hard here now..
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Old 17.01.2010, 11:59
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Re: Salary question--Dubai to Zurich

I'd say re-neg for a 20-25% hike if you can and take the plunge. Salary aside, Switzerland is a far-better place to be, especially if you're planning children soon. Ignore the sceptics.
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Old 17.01.2010, 12:07
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Re: Salary question--Dubai to Zurich

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So I guess I need to negotiate really hard here now..
Ask for at least 20 percent more to get closer to your current Dubai living standard.
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Old 17.01.2010, 12:49
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Re: Salary question--Dubai to Zurich

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but I've some liabilities..a mortgage back in my home country where I pay around 4k USD as a monthly installment..
So at the end of day, I need a salary where I can pay my mortgage and at the same time do not compromise "much" on my life style..

So I guess I need to negotiate really hard here now..
50k off your 120k just for mortgage ? Sorry, 70k (or 6k/M) for 2 isn't that much at all in Zürich, I would seriously reconsider.
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Old 17.01.2010, 12:53
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Re: Salary question--Dubai to Zurich

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50k off your 120k just for mortgage ? Sorry, 70k (or 6k/M) for 2 isn't that much at all in Zürich, I would seriously reconsider.

I agree . 70K is way to less for 2 around here .
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Old 17.01.2010, 12:54
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Re: Salary question--Dubai to Zurich

Sound advice above. On CHF70k for two, I wouldn't even consider living in Switzerland. It would be a drastic change in lifestyle (think: being a student again)
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Old 17.01.2010, 13:12
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Re: Salary question--Dubai to Zurich

Life - yes, its do-able, but i'd be so blunt to say that 70k a year buys you absolutely no style at all.
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Old 18.01.2010, 08:01
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Re: Salary question--Dubai to Zurich

thanks a lot guys for your inputs..now I get some clarity on what I need to do... .. will keep you posted on how does it go
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Old 18.01.2010, 08:05
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Re: Salary question--Dubai to Zurich

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HI XDude,

I agree with the sentiments expressed here. 120K in Switzerland will not allow the life style you would be used to!

By the way: may I ask how you found your position in IT Financial Services in Dubai? We have been looking for jobs as PM, requirement engineer or business process engineer in Dubai or Abu Dhabi for some time ... without success. Any suggestions?
i moved to dubai in the boom time..so getting a job wasn't tht difficult in those days..
now of course with the crash, the jobs are few.. so its more difficult..
i would advise you to stay in dubai for a month n meet the companies, head hunters...thts a better way to do it..if u are in europe n trying to find a job remotely, then the probability of you landing a job much lesser..

best luck
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Old 18.01.2010, 08:15
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Re: Salary question--Dubai to Zurich

You really got any choice to move to Zurich, if you want to stay with the same company ?
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Old 18.01.2010, 09:32
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Re: Salary question--Dubai to Zurich

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Should I consider a worst case tax scenario where I 'd be paying 25% tax?
I'd figure on an average case of 30% deductions.

Quote:
but I've some liabilities..a mortgage back in my home country where I pay around 4k USD as a monthly installment..
On 125k. Let's say after deductions you get 7,300 CHF per month. 4k is going to disappear leaving you 3,300 CHF per month. Let's say you slum it a tiny apartment costing 2k per month. That leaves you with 1,300CHF which is probably enough for food and your bus fare to work.

Quote:
So at the end of day, I need a salary where I can pay my mortgage and at the same time do not compromise "much" on my life style..

So I guess I need to negotiate really hard here now..
sorry, i'd say you will be compromising on your lifestyle unless you were getting paid something around 300kCHF - not to mention the additional income from wife.

at the risk of offending some people here: 120k is nothing in Switzerland. sure the average wage may be 60k, but wealth is more evenly distributed so relative purchasing power is diminished.
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Old 18.01.2010, 09:45
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Re: Salary question--Dubai to Zurich

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Thnx for all the replies..I will do my research based on the links tht you guys have provided..
but this confirms my worst fears..
Yes.. My wife will also try to get a job..She is a qualified professional..However both of us are english speaking Non EU professionals..So I'm not sure what are her chances of getting a job in Zurich as I understand tht its bit difficult to get the job by just movin there if you aren't swiss german speaking.. So my moving there would definately cause some hardship for her..

I'm not being kicked out of my job in Dubai but being moved as a part of restructuring..
Now I'm trying to work it backwards..See how much tax will I be paying in Zurich.. n then post tax how much should I have in my hand (or bank) to live apporx. same life style..Is there a thumb rule..Should I consider a worst case tax scenario where I 'd be paying 25% tax?

I agree tht I can not compare Dubai to Zurich.. Both are vastly different cities..
but I've some liabilities..a mortgage back in my home country where I pay around 4k USD as a monthly installment..
So at the end of day, I need a salary where I can pay my mortgage and at the same time do not compromise "much" on my life style..

So I guess I need to negotiate really hard here now..
Are you paying 4k per month on your mortgage and not renting it out?
If you have to pay the mortgage without rental income, that would
really be tough.

10000 gross per month approximately - 2500 taxes and other

7500 per month
2200 less Apartment
5300 after major expenses

I could say that you all would live OK. If you still have the mortgage
to pay without rental income, you could not get by very well.
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Old 18.01.2010, 10:01
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Re: Salary question--Dubai to Zurich

Most of people have rather good lifestyle here with the range of 125K, but it is for sure less than what you had in Dubai. I'd say you can have same lifstyle if you'd earn 100k in DUbai, so you will miss 50k of what you could save in Dubai, plus "Ahlan va Sahlan" which gonna be replaced with "Grüzi", not talking about swimming in the Gulf beside Marina,...
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